Babies experience a wide range of odd phenomena – and hair loss is one! If you notice your baby’s once luscious locks are quickly disappearing, don’t fret! Your baby might be born with a head full of hair, or just some peach fuzz, but most infants will experience both hair loss and hair growth during the first year.
My newborn is balding!
Did all that pregnancy heartburn mean that you were blessed with a baby with so much hair he needed a blow dryer after his first bath? Or was he born with just a little peach fuzz or vellus? Whether your baby was born with a ton of hair or not, you might notice that both of you experience hair loss in the months following birth.
Just like a lot of other really strange infant phenomena that nobody warns you about in labor and delivery classes, baby hair loss is another odd, yet totally normal, scenario that you will probably experience.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the majority of babies will lose at least some hair during their first year of life. Your baby might lose hair all over her head, just by her scalp, on her forehead, or in random patches. It may come out in strands every once in a while, or it may fall out in clumps. All babies are different – and some won’t lose any noticeable amount of hair at all!
You might also notice the texture of your little one’s hair changing from soft to frizzy, or straight to curly. Baby hair color can also change dramatically in the first years of life. Although parents have no control over how their baby’s hair changes, they can follow some tips and tricks for taming their baby’s sweet little locks!
When does hair loss usually occur?
Most babies experience some loss of hair, called alopecia, within the first six months of life.
You might notice little hairs in the bathtub or on your baby’s bath towel, in your baby’s crib sheet or blankets, or in your hand after touching your baby’s head.
This hair loss tends to be most noticeable around age 3 months. But don’t fear – your baby’s natural hair grows back within the first year as well!
You might also notice clumps of your own hair in the shower or after you style your hair. Be sure to keep taking your prenatal vitamins in the first year postpartum. Avoid heat styling and harsh styling products, and tame flyaways and frizz with hairspray that is free of dyes and chemicals that might damage your hair. You can even try using a toothbrush when styling your hair to keep baby hairs and regrowth in place.
Why is my baby having more bad hair days than good?
Infant hair loss and hair growth are impacted by a number of factors, including the following:
Hormonal hair loss:
When you’re pregnant, your baby receives a steady stream of your increased hormones through the umbilical cord. These hormones can help your baby’s hair grow in the womb and also protects your own hair from breakage during pregnancy.
After you give birth, these hormone levels drop dramatically, causing hair loss (telogen effluvium) – and you may even notice your hair falling out in the months postpartum. Continuing to take prenatal vitamins can help provide both you and your baby with nutrients to combat some of that hair loss.
Your newborn will probably spend a lot of time lying down, being held, or sitting in a car seat or swing. The constant friction between the back of your baby’s head in these positions may cause hair thinning or hair loss on the back of the head.
You can protect baby hairs by avoiding letting your baby lay on his back all the time. Infants should always be put to sleep on their backs, but during awake times, encourage your baby to be upright through tummy time, sitting in your lap, or sitting in an infant chair.
Cradle cap is like a form of baby dandruff, and you might notice your baby has dry, scaly patches all over her scalp within the first months of life. And while cradle cap isn’t painful and won’t bother your baby, it often bothers parents, who may try to remove the dry patches too forcefully with strong shampoos or aggressive brushing or scratching.
Rest assured that cradle cap usually clears up on its own, so be gentle when treating it if you want to prevent accidental hair loss! Style your baby safely with a soft bristle brush such as the KeaBabies Baby Hair Brush that is made from 100% natural soft goat hair bristles and natural beechwood.
If your baby’s hair gets messy after a meal or outdoor play, use the KeaBabies brush to gently sweep along the hairline and tame any frizzy strands and flyaways. Avoid any type of spray or hair products that are not designed specifically for infants.
The “back-to-sleep” movement was started to combat the risk of SIDS, but it has also led to babies losing more hair on the backs of their heads.
Infants should be put to sleep on their backs, as this is considered the safest position for sleep. However, since babies will spend most of the time sleeping on their backs, this friction against hard surfaces such as rugs, couches, or crib mattresses can cause hair loss on the back of the head.
While it’s rare, there is an immune condition called alopecia areata that causes a baby’s immune system to attack healthy hair cells. This condition isn’t common, but if you are concerned, bring it up with your child’s pediatrician.
What can parents do to protect a baby’s tiny hair?
The real answer? Nothing! The best thing you can do for your baby is to avoid taking extreme measures to promote hair growth. Don’t buy any fancy spray or shampoo that makes false promises. Your baby’s natural hair will grow soon enough!
The good news is that a baby’s hair might fall out at the same rate new hair grows – so you might not even notice any changes to your little one’s gorgeous locks! Most of the hair that is lost within the first 6 months grows back by the time your baby turns 1, meaning good hair days are just around the corner.
You might be able to counteract some of the friction hair loss by giving your baby plenty of tummy time, but babies should always be put to sleep on their backs.
You can also try things like using a mild, fragrance-free baby shampoo. You can try washing your baby’s hair less often (2-3 times a week is plenty!). Try to avoid scrubbing your baby’s scalp, but instead use a washcloth or a soft-bristle brush (like the one in the KeaBabies Brush Set) to care for your infant’s hair.
Try some accessories.
If it really bothers you, try using hair accessories! Put head wraps or pretty headbands on your little girl to distract from any bald patches or funky strands. Dress your handsome little guy in beanies or baseball caps to cover up his lack of hair. And try not to worry, it probably bothers you much more than it bothers your baby!
One other surprising facet of infant hair loss is that the hair regrowth might look a whole lot different than the hair your baby was born with! Babies have been known to have hair that suddenly changes color, texture, or curl. You might notice your baby’s hairline changes, or seems to grow into a certain style. Baby hair comes in all different colors and texture!
There is no magic solution to manage baby hair. Products that work well for one infant might not work as great on another. As your baby grows, you will learn how to care for his hair. Baby hairs can be finicky, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all cure. Rest assured that although some of your baby’s hair will fall out, it will eventually grow back!
No matter how much – or how little – your baby experiences hair changes during the first year of life, embrace every moment with your sweet little baby and rest assured that he won’t be bald forever!
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez
I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.